Auld stays near top on ‘Project Runway’

Baton Rouge’s rising fashion star Anthony Ryan Auld continues to capture the praise of judges and fans of Lifetime TV’s “Project Runway: All Stars II,” once again firmly coming in among the top three in last week’s High Line-inspired challenge to create a red carpet look “made in a green way.”

The winner was Laura Kathleen, who came to Baton Rouge this past August to participate in Auld’s Mode Fashion Week.

Auld has two wins under his belt and has come in among the top three for the remaining challenges. He’s also a favorite among the fans, topping the leader board with 38 percent of the votes. The winner of “Project Runway: All Stars II” will be announced on the Jan. 17 finale.

The High Line is an above-ground section of abandoned New York City subway that has been turned into a walking garden that is a pet project of guest judge Diane von Furstenberg. Auld and his remaining fellow designers — Althea Harper, Casanova, Emilio Sosa, Ivy Higa, Laura Kathleen, Joshua McKinley and Uli Herzner — met Robert Hammond and Joshua David, from “Friends of the High Line,” at the site with show hostess Caroline Murphy to get instructions for this sixth challenge.

Shortly after mentor Joanna Coles paid a visit to the designers’ workroom, Auld commented on the show that he was “feeling kind of stuck.” In his weekly update with The Advocate, he further explained what was really happening.

“First off, it was hotter than Hades out on the High Line and I couldn’t change my clothes,” said Auld, laughing. “They were hanging off my body but the continuity producer said no way, so I really wasn’t in the mood to design.

“The design I started off with, I’d done some really fine pleating at the top of the dress but about three or four hours into it, I realized I wasn’t going to have to finish it,” he continued.

“So, halfway through the workday, I trashed the first dress and started over. What you saw on the runway, I made in about four or five hours. That’s what I meant by being stuck that day.”

It’s also why the dress had so much fabric on the sides and was too long. So, why not hack it off?

“When I doubled the fabric, I sewed it all together. Everything was encased,” said Auld. “It wasn’t what I started out with but I loved the look.”

Even though it was blue again? “I was going to pick another color, but I knew the fabric would do what I wanted it to do,” he said, again with that infectious laugh. “It was purple on the other side, (everyone’s fabric had a different color on each side) but it was a really yucky purple, so I took a chance and went with blue again.”

It worked for him, too.

“I love the color!” exclaimed Murphy in the judges commentary.

“Great job,” said judge Georgina Chapman.

“Congratulations,” added judge Isaac Mizrahi.

Then there were the glowing comments from fashion queen, Diane von Furstenberg. “I like it — a lot. It’s cool, elegant … she looks like a goddess.”

“You’ve got to show the judges who you are as a designer, and what I’ve sent down the runway is clearly about who I am and who the woman I’m dressing is,” said Auld. “I wanted it to look comfortable because so many red carpet gowns aren’t. I’m essentially dressing myself if I were a chick. There’s a belt that weaves through the dress so you change how it falls.”

And what can we expect on Thursday night’s “unconventional” challenge, which airs on Lifetime TV at 8 p.m.? “Well, if you remember, on my season (No. 9) it’s when I did my infamous birdseed dress,” said Auld. “It’s one of my favorite challenges and it’s the middle of the season so we need something fun. Like I told Tim Gunn, I’m a master with a hot glue gun.”

The challenge takes the designers to a Christmas store instead of to Mood, and Auld said they all walk around trying to figure out what to do with the red and green “stuff.” The light at the end of the challenge’s tunnel is that the judge is Kylie Minogue, “the Brittany Spears of Australia.”

“So, it can either be wearable or a showpiece … costumy ... and she’ll get it.”